wikileaks ico  Home papers ico  Cables mirror and Afghan War Diary privacy policy Privacy
Identifier
Created
Classification
Origin
05ANKARA775
2005-02-09 15:27:00
UNCLASSIFIED
Embassy Ankara
Cable title:  

CONVERSION OF CEKMECE RESEARCH REACTOR AND RETURN

Tags:   ENRG  KNNP  TRGY  TU 
pdf how-to read a cable
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.
						UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 06 ANKARA 000775 

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: ENRG KNNP TRGY TU
SUBJECT: CONVERSION OF CEKMECE RESEARCH REACTOR AND RETURN
OF SPENT FUEL

REF: STATE 1484

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 06 ANKARA 000775

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: ENRG KNNP TRGY TU
SUBJECT: CONVERSION OF CEKMECE RESEARCH REACTOR AND RETURN
OF SPENT FUEL

REF: STATE 1484


1. Summary: A DOE-State team visited Ankara and Istanbul
January 14-17 to meet with officials of the Turkish Atomic
Energy Commission (TAEK) and operators of the TR-2 research
reactor at the Cekmece Nuclear Research Center. Discussions
focused on possible Turkish participation in a combined
shipment of high enriched spent fuel from the Eastern
Mediterranean in September 2005. TAEK noted its general
agreement with the shipment but raised questions about how it
would affect the ability of the TR-2 to continue operating
without a new supply of fresh LEU fuel. The US team agreed
to take the Turkish questions back to Washington for
interagency review and technical analysis with the intention
of making a detailed proposal before the end of February. If
an agreement in principle can be reached by that time Turkish
participation in a Septermber shipment can probably be
arranged. A summary report of the discussions and activities
during the visit is at para. 8 End summary.


2. A DOE-State team visited Ankara and Istanbul January
14-17 to meet with officials of the Turkish Atomic Energy
Commission (TAEK) and operators of the TR-2 research reactor
at the Cekmece Nuclear Research Center. The purpose of the
visit was to discuss possible Turkish participation in a
combined shipment of spent nuclear fuel (SNF) to the United
States planned for September 2005 and to evaluate the
condition of the fuel and the capability of the facility to
support such a shipment. The proposed shipment would
included SNF from research reactors in Austria, Israel and
Greece as well as irradiated fuel containing HEU from TR-2.


3. Charles Messick of DOE Savannah River Site, Allan Krass
of State/NP/NE and Emboff Kevin Lyon met with TAEK in Ankara
on Friday, January 14, while Michael Dunsmuir and Randall
Dunavant of Westinghouse Savannah River visited the small
Triga research reactor at Istanbul Technical University
(ITU). The latter visit resulted in an understanding that
the ITU reactor, which uses only LEU fuel, would not be
interested in participating in a spent fuel shipment at this
time. The full team, with the addition of Nicholas Jenkings
of NAC International, DOE,s shipping contractor, visited the

TR-2 facility at Cekmece on Monday, January 17.


4. In Ankara, Messick presented an overview of the Foreign
Research Reactor (FRR) Spent Nuclear Fuel (SNF) Acceptance
Program and the proposal that Turkey participate in the
proposed September shipment. It was made clear to TAEK that
under the rules of the program Turkey, as an "other than high
income economy" would not have to pay either the shipping
costs or the DOE management fee for the spent fuel. Messick
also emphasized the program requirements that the operators
agree to convert the reactor from HEU to LEU fuel and to
cease irradiation of all the HEU to be shipped at least 90
days before the scheduled fuel loading.


5. The primary TAEK interlocutors were President Mr. Okay
CAKIROGLU, Director Dr. Sevket Can and Reactor Department
Head Dr. Sinan Taylan. They made clear TAEK,s continued and
expanding interest in both nuclear power and nuclear research
and noted that they not only wanted to resume operation of
the TR-2 after seismic upgrading, but that they planned to
increase its operating power from 5 to 10 Megawatts and to
build a new research reactor at a site near Ankara. The TAEK
officials noted their agreement in principle to participating
in the shipment but also noted specific requests for
consideration that would eliminate any risks to the
successful operation of the TR-2. In particular they noted
that the reactor could continue to operate for some time on
their inventory of partially burned HEU assemblies, and they
suggested that a satisfactory way would have to be found to
replace the unused HEU with LEU before they could agree to
participate. Mr. CAKIROGLU also requested that TAEK be
permitted to keep a single unirradiated HEU assembly
containing about 280 grams of HEU. The U.S. side agreed to
take these requests back to Washington for interagency
discussion and also asked TAEK to provide a technically
detailed proposal for what it wants to do with the one fresh
assembly.


6. At Cekmece on Monday the full team was given a tour of
the TR-2 reactor. After the tour Messick, Krass and Lyon
continued discussion on contract and policy issues, while the
Savannah River and NAC reps examined the condition of the
fuel and the transferring and loading capabilities of the
facility. A list of discussion items, agreements and
proposed actions is provided in the summary record in para.8.
The most important of these from the policy point of view
are the question of consideration for unused HEU.
DOE and State will discuss these requests and prepare a
detailed proposal for TAEK. Experts from the Reduced
Enrichment for Research and Test Reactors Program will be
consulted for technical advice and will communicate with Dr.
Taylan to clarify the operational requirements that must be
satisfied. It was understood by both sides that, in order to
achieve a shipment in September, these issues must be
resolved by the end of February in order to reach an
agreement in principle on Turkish participation. It was also
agreed that TAEK, in consultation with the US Embassy, would
look into the possibility of shipping the SNF from a port
closer to the Mediterranean than Istanbul. This would have
the advantage of shortening the ship voyage and could have
other efficiency and security
advantages as well.


7. Inspection of the fuel found no significant corrosion or
damage that might delay or prevent a shipment. The SNF pool
water was judged to be of good quality, however there was
visual indication that a small amount of algae was present.
There did not appear to be any insurmountable problems in
transferring the fuel from the reactor pool to shipping casks
and getting those casks to an appropriate
port for loading on the ship. TAEK understands that it is
likely that the ship will already have SNF from other
countries on board and that this may require some special
licensing and security activities. But they expressed no
concern that this could not be handled satisfactorily in the
time available.


8. The following is the trip report completed by the
Department of Energy representative. This report was shared
with TAEK and contains more exact details of the findings and
actions needed to be taken prior to the return of the fuel
rods.

Turkish Atomic Energy Authority (TAEK)
Cekmece Nuclear Research and Training Center (CNAEM)
Istanbul, Turkey

TR-2
January 14 -17, 2005

VISITING TEAM

Mr. Charles Messick,
Department of Energy-Savannah River Operations Office
(charles.messick@srs.gov);
803-725-9494;
803-725-8856 (fax)

Dr. Allan Krass,
Department of State,
Office of Nuclear Energy Affairs; (KrassAS@state.gov)

Mr. Michael Dunsmuir,
Westinghouse-Savannah River Company (WSRC);
(michael.dunsmuir@srs.gov)

Mr. Randy Dunavant,
WSRC, (randall.dunavant@srs.gov)

Mr. Nick Jenkins, NAC International

KEY PERSONNEL IN TURKEY

Mr. Okay CAKIROGLU, President TAEK
Tel: 90-312-287-5723
Fax: 90-312-287-8761
Email: okay@taek.gov.tr

Dr. Erdener BYROL, Vice President TAEK
Tel: 90-312-287-6536
Fax: 90-312-287-8761
Email: erdener.birol@taek.gov.tr

Mr. Ali ALAT, Vice President TAEK
Tel: 90-312-284-0264
Fax: 90-312-287-8761
Email: ali.alat@taek.gov.tr

Dr. Sevket CAN, Director Cekmece Nuclear Research and
Training Center
Tel: 90-212-548-2223
Fax: 90-212-548-2230
Email: cans@nukleer.gov.tr

Dr. Sinan TAYLAN (Primary POC)
Head Reactor Department Cekmece Nuclear Research and Training
Center
Tel: 90-212-548-4050/2101
Fax: 90-212-548-2230/34
Email: taylans@nukleer.gov.tr

Mr. Hakan ANAC
Reactor Shift Supervisor, CNAEM
Tel: 90-312-286-4174
Fax: 90-312-285-9055
Email: Aysun.Yucel@TAEK.gov.tr

Mrs. Aysun YUCEL
TAEK Nuclear Safety Department Head
Tel: 90-212-548 4050
Fax: 90-212-548 2234
Email: kayas@nukleer.gov.tr

Dr. Tahir AKBAS,
TAEK Technology Department Head
Tel: 90-312-285 9256
Email: tahir.akbas@taek.gov.tr

Professor Hasan SAYGIN,
Director Istanbul Technical
University Reactor
Tel: 90-212-285-2930
Fax: 90-212-285-3939
Email: sayginh@itu.edu.tr

KEY EMBASSY PERSONNEL

Mr. Kevin Lyon, EXBS Advisor
Political/Military Section
Tel: 90-312-455-5555 ext. 2525
Fax: 90-312-468-4775
Email: LyonK@state.gov

PURPOSE OF THE VISIT

To discuss U. S. nuclear weapons nonproliferation policy and
program issues concerning the Foreign Research Reactor (FRR)
Spent Nuclear Fuel (SNF) Acceptance Program, to discuss
potential implementation of a near-term shipment of SNF from
the TR-2 Research Reactor and contractual changes to support
these activities, to evaluate the HEU SNF for transportation
and future storage at the Savannah River Site, to evaluate
the equipment and capabilities of the facility to package and
prepare the material for shipment, and to determine shipment
needs and requirements. WSRC also conducted a brief review
of the TRIGA fuel located at the Nuclear Energy Institute at
Istanbul Technical University (ITU).

INTRODUCTION

The Turkish Atomic Energy Commission was founded in 1956 as a
first step in the recognition of peaceful uses of nuclear
energy in Turkey. The first task of this Commission was the
establishment of the ekmece Nuclear Research and Training
Center (CNAEM) in 1962 in Istanbul. The first Turkish
Research Reactor, TR-1 (1 MW), was also installed and
operated in the same year at CNAEM. TR-1 was operated
continuously for fifteen years from May 27, 1962 to September
13, 1977. The 32 fuel assemblies from TR-1 were sent to SRS
in 1984. The TR-1 reactor was functionally replaced by the 5
MW TR-2 reactor in 1982 to meet the increasing demand for
radioisotopes. The TR-1 reactor components still exist at
CNAEM.

At the time of this visit, the most recent operation of the
TR-2 reactor occurred on January 7, 2005 for
approximately 4 hours. The reactor is operated briefly
approximately once per week. TAEK has plans to increase
power from 5 MW to 10 MW in the future. Currently, 18 HEU
fuel assemblies and three LEU fuel assemblies are in the core.

The ITU-TRR is a TRIGA Mark II type reactor. Construction
was started in 1975 and initial criticality occurred in 1979.
The reactor operates at 250kW using the original core
consisting of 69 stainless-steel-clad LEU rods. In 1999, the
reactor had accumulated approximately 231 MWhr of operation.
Ten fresh TRIGA rods remain at ITU, two of which are
instrumented. Additional information can be found in the
previous DOE trip report meeting minutes dated October 13,

1999.

FUEL INVENTORY

The TR-2 fuel assemblies are MTR type assemblies.

Characteristics of TR-2 fuel and control assemblies that may
be returned to the U.S. are provided below.

HEU
Nominal Number at Facility
30 Consisting of:
18 standard (23 plates),
1 fresh control instrumented assembly
2 irradiation (12 plates)
1 standard instrumented assembly
8 control (17 plates))

Enrichment 93.3 %
Fuel Meat U-Al alloy
Clad Al
Initial U-235(g) /assembly
281 standard (2 irradiation@146; 1 std instrumented@281; and
1 control instrumented @ 208 )
Burn-up 40% average

LEU

Nominal Number at Facility
16 Consisting of:
10 standard (23 plates)
2 irradiation (12 plates)
4 control (17 plates)
Enrichment 19.8%
Fuel Meat U3SI Dispersion in Al
Clad Al
Initial U-235 (g) / assembly
406 standard (300 control, 212 irradiation)
Burnup (see below)

Only two standard LEU assemblies and one irradiation assembly
are in the core at present. The standard
elements have a burnup of about 7.5% and the irradiation
assembly 12.5%.

Note 1: One of the irradiation assemblies is a fresh LEU
assembly. The irradiation assemblies have 12 plates (TR2
1004) with tubes in the center for irradiation activities.
The assembly construction is slightly different from the
standard assembly.

Note 2: TAEK also has approximately 110 pins about 15' high,
1/2' diameter, containing 1% U-235, that were provided by
Brookhaven National Laboratory for a pile experiment in the
1960s. TAEK did not request that these be considered for
acceptance.

Note 3: The instrumented assemblies are both HEU, one with
little burnup and the other unirradiated.

CONDITION OF FUEL

All spent fuel is stored in the large part of the TR-2 pool.
Most of the fuel is stored in two baskets located on the
floor of the pool. The assemblies in the core are located in
the TR-2 side of the pool. The reactor pool is stainless
steel lined. All spent fuel is stored in aluminum racks.
Fresh fuel is stored in a vault located one floor below the
reactor.

An evaluation of fuel was conducted by WSRC. A detailed
report from WSRC will be issued under separate report. The
reactor pool water is high quality and the fuel appears to be
in good condition; however there was visual indication that a
small amount of algae was present. Reactor personnel
reported that one standard assembly and one control assembly
are suspected of leaking during the previous visit in 1999.

FACILITIES RELATED TO PACKAGING

Mr. Nick Jenkins of NAC International conducted a detailed
evaluation of the facilities related to packaging for
consideration of conducting a future shipment. The overhead
bridge crane capacity is 10 metric tons. There is about six
meters (20 feet) between the crane hook and the top of the
reactor pool. On the bottom level of the reactor building
there is a small transfer cask, about 40 centimeters in
diameter that was used to remove fuel from the reactor in
1984 and load the fuel into a shipping cask. The transfer
cask is in good condition and weighs about 1 ton. Also
stored on this level is the water tank that was used to mate
with the IU-04 cask that was used to ship the TR-1 fuel to
the U.S.

The reactor building access doors are approximately 3 meters
wide x 5 meters high and open onto an asphalt paved area.
The access doors open into a partial ground level floor of
the reactor building that has a floor load of 20 tons. The
outside area leading to the reactor access airlock has
sufficient working area and is accessed by a 9 meters (30
feet) wide road leading into a turnaround area just outside
the reactor access airlock that is 9mX18m (30, x 60,).

A demineralized water supply is available.

POTENTIAL TRANSPORTATION ROUTE FROM THE REACTOR TO THE
PORT OF EXPORT

During the previous visit, M. Ozal stated that the best
transportation route would be to take the shore road from the
facility to the Istanbul Old City and load the truck/cask
onto one of the truck/vehicle ferries departing from the
piers at the base of the Galata Bridge. The ferry would then
proceed across the Bosphorus to Harem where the truck would
drive off the ferry and travel a short distance to the
general cargo piers located there. Another suggestion was
made to consider a a route to the same port in Istanbul that
travels over the "Fatih Bridge" across the Bosphorus along a
more convenient road. However, further considerations for a
port would be to move the casks further south toward the
Mediterranean Sea for greater shipment efficiency.

REGULATORY AUTHORITY

The TR-2 at the Cekmece Nuclear Research and Training Center
is part of the Turkish Atomic Energy Authority. There is no
separate nuclear regulatory authority in Turkey at the
present time.

POTENTIAL PROBLEM AREAS

No significant problems have been identified.

DISCUSSIONS, AGREEMENTS, AND ACTIONS

1.) The following documents were provided to the reactor
operator:
Compilation of Contract Clauses for Countries with
Other Than High Income Economies
Revision 8 of Appendix A
Revision 9 of Appendix B
The FRR SNF Acceptance Program Record of Decision with
Changes No. 1 through 3 and Fee Policy notices for high
income economy countries and other-than-high income economy
country reactor operators.

2.) Previous discussions, agreements, and actions were
documented in the DOE Trip Report from October 12, 1999.

3.) TAEK understands that DOE desires to establish a
shipment of FRR SNF from the eastern Mediterranean area to
arrive in the United States in September 2005. TAEK and DOE
agreed that a shipment may be possible if an agreement in
principal can be reached, particularly regarding an agreement
for consideration for TAEK,s unused U-235 in the existing
HEU fuel. TAEK expects to deplete the HEU, if continued to
be used, to 60% burnup. DOE agreed to reply to TAEK
regarding U-235 consideration in TAEK,s HEU fuel.
Additionally, TAEK desires to receive any potential
replacement fuel prior to the shipment of their HEU.

4.) TAEK and DOE discussed that a contract between another
FRR in Europe and CERCA is being made to fabricate fuel
essentially identical to the LEU fuel that would be needed by
TAEK, and that a fresh LEU material shipment to CERCA from
DOE,s Y-12 facility is expected in about two months.

5.) TAEK has been informed that if TR-2 were to make a
shipment of fuel to the United States, TAEK would be treated
for contractual purposes according to the economic status of
the country at the time of the shipment in accordance with
the Federal Register Notice for Fee Policy.

6.) The DOE and TAEK also understand that TAEK will be
expected to provide assistance to the shipment effort to the
extent possible given their technical capabilities at the
time of the shipment. Additionally, DOE and TR-2 understand
that specific responsibilities for tasks will be negotiated
within the contract.

7.) TAEK indicated that there was a desire to restart the
reactor for short periods with fuel identified for
return shipment. DOE and TAEK will negotiate further reactor
operation with fuel that will be returned to ensure
sufficient cooling time will exist to meet shipping
requirements.

8.) TAEK has been informed that the shipment of SNF from
TR-2 may be combined with other countries, shipments and as
such it is possible that when the vessel arrives in Turkey,s
port of export, it could have SNF from other countries on
board.

9.) TAEK understands that the DOE FRR SNF Acceptance
Program has been extended for 10 additional years and as
such, after full conversion to LEU fuel, LEU fuel assemblies
with uranium enriched in the United States would be eligible
for return to the United States under the FRR SNF Acceptance
Program if the fuel is removed from the core (no longer
irradiated) prior to May 13, 2016 and the shipment completed
prior to May 13, 2019.

10.) Mr. Okay CAKIROGLU requested to keep the one fresh HEU
fuel assembly with an agreement that TAEK would not use the
assembly if an agreement to participate is made. DOE asked
that TAEK submit a request with appropriate justification and
conditions

11.) TAEK and DOE agreed that Dr. TAYLAN and Dr. Jim Matos
of Argonne National Laboratory will communicate
regarding the potential uses of the unused U-235 remaining in
TAEK,s HEU fuel.

12.) TAEK,s existing LEU fuel was manufactured by CERCA.
Specifications are contained in CERCA drawing 2588200
dated April 12, 1991 for the control assemblies and CERCA
drawing 2588100 dated April 4, 1991 for the standard
assemblies.

13.) TAEK and DOE understand that TAEK currently has uranium
credit at DOE,s Y-12 Facility. According to Y-12 the
credit is for 4.703 Kg at 85.6%, which translates to
approximately 21 Kgs of LEU at 19.75% enrichment. Exact
amounts must be verified.

14.) Mr. Kevin Lyon of the US Embassy in Ankara agreed to
investigate the potential use of other ports in Turkey that
may make a shipment from TR-2 more efficient for a combined
shipment.


9. This cable was drafted by State NP/NE, Allan Krass, and
cleared by relevant Washington offices.

EDELMAN